U.S. House overrides Trump veto on defense policy bill

U.S. House overrides Trump veto on defense policy bill

The U.S. House voted Monday to override Donald Trump’s veto of a $740.5 billion defense policy bill. If the Senate follows suit as expected in the waning days of Trump’s presidency, it will be the first time one of his vetoes has been surmounted.

The vote was 322-87, handily exceeding the two-thirds threshold needed to override a veto, with support coming from majorities of both Democrats and Republicans. The 212 Democrats and one independent voting to override Trump were joined by 109 Republicans. The Senate is planning to start its override process Tuesday, with the final vote delayed until as late as Jan. 3 if some senators insist on running out the legislative process.

Voting to override Trump’s veto reflects a widening rift between the president and some congressional Republicans, who stood by him through previous conflicts, as his influence ebbs. More GOP lawmakers in recent weeks recognized Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election, and many of them oppose Trump’s call for larger stimulus payments as part of pandemic relief, Bloomberg reported.

The annual defense policy bill would authorize $732 billion in discretionary spending for national defense, including $69 billion for overseas contingency operations. It also authorizes funding for 93 F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The defense measure would establish a Pacific deterrence initiative intended to counter China’s influence in the region. Congress plans to authorize $2.2 billion for the new effort designed to bolster the U.S. defense posture and weapons and alliances in the region.

Lawmakers took aim at Russia with provisions including additional sanctions on Turkey for purchasing a Russian made missile defense system, as well as penalties on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

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